Rectal Injury After Foreign Body Insertion: Secondary Analysis From the AAST Contemporary Management of Rectal Injuries Study Group

The AAST Contemporary Management of Rectal Injuries Study Group

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8 Scopus citations


Background: Retained rectal foreign bodies are a common but incompletely studied problem. This study defined the epidemiology, injury severity, and outcomes after rectal injuries following foreign body insertion. Methods: Twenty-two level I trauma centers retrospectively identified all patients sustaining a rectal injury in this AAST multi-institutional trial (2005-2014). Only patients injured by foreign body insertion were included in this secondary analysis. Exclusion criteria were death before rectal injury management or ≤48 h of admission. Demographics, clinical data, and outcomes were collected. Study groups were defined as partial thickness (AAST grade I) versus full thickness (AAST grades II-V) injuries. Subgroup analysis was performed by management strategy (nonoperative versus operative). Results: After exclusions, 33 patients were identified. Mean age was 41 y (range 18-57), and 85% (n = 28) were male. Eleven (33%) had full thickness injuries and 22 (67%) had partial thickness injuries, of which 14 (64%) were managed nonoperatively and 8 (36%) operatively (proximal diversion alone [n = 3, 14%]; direct repair with proximal diversion [n = 2, 9%]; laparotomy without rectal intervention [n = 2, 9%]; and direct repair alone [n = 1, 5%]). Subgroup analysis of outcomes after partial thickness injury demonstrated significantly shorter hospital length of stay (2 ± 1; 2 [1-5] versus 5 ± 2; 4 [2-8] d, P = 0.0001) after nonoperative versus operative management. Conclusions: Although partial thickness rectal injuries do not require intervention, difficulty excluding full thickness injuries led some surgeons in this series to manage partial thickness injuries operatively. This was associated with significantly longer hospital length of stay. Therefore, we recommend nonoperative management after a retained rectal foreign body unless full thickness injury is conclusively identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-546
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Computed tomography
  • Proctoscopy
  • Rectal injury
  • Rectal trauma
  • Retained foreign body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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